Somalilandsun: Xijiinle is a coastal settlement of about 200 semi-nomadic herders known for their close attachment to camels in Somaliland
The capital Hargeisa has a famous camel market. Camel exports are one of Somaliland’s largest sources of income. (Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Panos)
The capital of Somaliland is Hargeisa, which is considered to have “transformed” quite spectacularly from years of conflict and almost forgotten into a prosperous destination.
Donkey carts still run on the streets of the capital, Hargeisa. (Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Panos)
Hargeisa city is quite bustling and rich in identity, with this corner there are streets where donkeys casually take space with “smart” 2-bridge cars.
The other corners of goats and sheep that share their path with humans range from women in colorful Kaftan costumes, many of whom are veiled, to dignified elders, or dashing and sophisticated-looking young men.
Hargeisa women wear colorful Kaftan costumes. (Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Panos)
The most unique is probably the outdoor pet market in the southeast suburbs – where hundreds of camels, goats and sheep are sold every day.
Hargeisa night shimmering colors. (Photo: commons.wikimedia)
Further through the vast grasslands are villages with simple huts made of tree branches, “domes” covered with cloth. It is the center of the semi-nomadic camel herders with a long tradition.
A mother camel caresses her baby next to landlady Nimao Jaama, 40, and her family’s goats in the village of Hiijinle in northwest Somaliland. (Photo: Nichole Sobecki)
“We, humans and camels, understand each other very well… Somalis love camels the most,” said Rashiid Jaamac, about 50, a resident of Xijiinle, as he milked a camel on the beach. He also said he owns 52 of the several hundred camels gathered here.
Some of the approximately 200 camels awaken on the shores of the Gulf of Aden in the village of Hiijinle. (Photo: Nichole Sobecki)
But this number of camels is only a small part that has survived the long period of severe drought that has continued since 2015. Before that “camels were so numerous that they were lying here (on the coast) and could not be seen. the sea too,” said Jaamac.
The 5-month-old Baarud camel playfully pulls the Hijab (head covering and chest covering) of its owner Aadar Mohamed, 44, in the village of Hiijinle. (Photo: Nichole Sobecki)
People in this extremely arid land and very harsh climate mostly graze cattle. For them camels are the most valuable asset because they are the main source of food (milk supply) and also an important means of transportation when farmers often have to load all their belongings on the camel’s back to move. where the grasslands are better. Camels are butchered only when they die of natural causes.
Camels are honored at the center of Somali culture
Camel herder Mahmoud Ali Hussein, 36 years old, in the village of Hiijinle. (Photo: Nichole Sobecki)
Xijiinle residents all share that the lives of humans and camels here are linked by both need and affection. Like Mr. Jaamac remembering the name of each of his camels in the herd. Every time he went home, the camels greeted him with joy as if they were pets.
During a period of unusually long and harsh drought, when aided by humanitarian organizations, many people are willing to give camels their last food to save them.
A tourist made the journey to Somaliland in 2017. (Image: mrandmrshowe)
Generations of Somalis have grown accustomed to leading camels to larger, greener pastures. At the same time ready to do everything to protect them from aggressive predators such as hyenas, lions, Gepa leopards…
With hyenas, people either have to shine a light to dazzle their eyes, or go to the root of the nest by killing the hyena cubs. Even when necessary, it is necessary to shoot the hyena with an AK 47 gun like in battle.
With fierce hyenas, herders sometimes have to use a gun to shoot down to protect the camels. (Photo: geeskaafrika)
Folk artists also compose oral and written poetry, some handed down over the centuries, honoring camels as central to Somali culture.
“Looking at camels is like looking at our whole life. If camels are okay, our lives are okay too,” Mr. Jaamac concluded.
Camels “squeeze” with tourist cars on the streets of Hargeisa. (Photo: mrandmrshowe